The unprecedented pandemic of COVID-19 has impacted many lives and affects the whole healthcare systems globally. In addition to the considerable workload challenges, surgeons are faced with a number of uncertainties regarding their own safety, practice, and overall patient care. This guide has been drafted at short notice to advise on specific issues related to surgical service provision and the safety of minimally invasive surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although laparoscopy can theoretically lead to aerosolization of blood borne viruses, there is no evidence available to confirm this is the case with COVID-19. The ultimate decision on the approach should be made after considering the proven benefits of laparoscopic techniques versus the potential theoretical risks of aerosolization. Nevertheless, erring on the side of safety would warrant treating the coronavirus as exhibiting similar aerosolization properties and all members of the OR staff should use personal protective equipment (PPE) in all surgical procedures during the pandemic regardless of known or suspected COVID status. Pneumoperitoneum should be safely evacuated via a filtration system before closure, trocar removal, specimen extraction, or conversion to open. All emergent endoscopic procedures performed during the pandemic should be considered as high risk and PPE must be used by all endoscopy staff.
ASJC Scopus subject areas